The terms “dating violence” and “domestic violence” refer to violent acts committed by a current or former romantic partner, cohabitant or co-parent. Definitions for each term are available in Brookdale’s official college regulations which can be found here.
Dating and domestic violence can have a lasting, devastating impact on victims and their loved ones, including children raised in an abusive household. Brookdale strictly prohibits acts of dating and domestic violence, and encourages students and employees to speak up if they witness signs of an abusive relationship.
Domestic violence may start when one partner feels the need to control and dominate the other. Abusers may feel this need because of low self-esteem, extreme jealousy, difficulties in regulating anger and other strong emotions, or when they feel inferior to the other partner in education and socioeconomic background.
Some men may think they have the right to control women, and that women aren’t equal to men. This domination then takes the form of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. (Goldsmith, T., 2013. What Causes Domestic Violence?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 10, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-causes-domestic-violence/)
While most victims of dating and domestic violence are women, men can be victims as well.
The first step to ending an abusive relationship is recognizing that you are in one, which can often be difficult.Abused partners can be caught up in a “cycle of violence,” which begins with period of tension-building or “walking on eggshells.” This phase is followed by a violent episode, which can include both verbal and physical abuse. The cycle concludes with a “honeymoon stage,” where the abuser may show guilt, remorse and promise to change his or her ways.
It is important to understand the warning signs of an abusive relationship and take action when you discover that you or someone else is in one. It is also important to understand that a victim is never at fault for a partner’s abusive behavior.
According to BreaktheCycle.org, common warning signs of dating violence are:
- Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Constant belittling or put-downs
- Explosive temper
- Isolation from family and friends
- Making false accusations
- Erratic mood swings
- Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way
- Telling someone what to do
- Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex
Ending an abusive relationship is not easy, and it often requires extra steps to ensure that the abusive partner remains out of your life for good. According to Womenslaw.org, some steps to follow are:
- Change your telephone number, door locks and consider installing a security system, if possible
- Collect and preserve any evidence of abuse
- Explain your situation to friends, family and others around you, including neighbors and anyone who may watch after your children
- Try not to travel, walk or jog alone. Stay in public, well-lit places as much as you can
Stay in touch with your local domestic violence organization for support
Local organizations such as 180 Turning Lives Around offer comprehensive guidance and support for women seeking to leave an abusive relationship. They can be reached at 888-843-9262.